Basketball Bulldogs in Big Apple to face No. 1 Indiana

Atlanta's Tony Parker, who chose UCLA over Georgia and several other schools last spring, is averaging 6.7 points and 12.5 minutes per game for the Bruins. Both teams are playing in New York City tonight. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Atlanta's Tony Parker, who chose UCLA over Georgia and several other schools last spring, is averaging 6.7 points and 12.5 minutes per game for the Bruins. Both teams are playing in New York City tonight. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

What’s little ol’ Georgia and its work-in-progress basketball team doing up in big ol’ New York to face storied Indiana and its No. 1-ranked Hoosiers?

Well, exactly what coach Mark Fox wants.

Certainly it’s not ideal that the Bulldogs (1-2) are heading into the bright lights of the Progressive Legends Classic tournament with one of their younger and less experienced groups in a while. But since taking over Georgia’s basketball team, it has been Fox’s philosophy to get his program on the biggest stages possible as often as possible.

“When I came to Georgia, I felt like we needed to get in as many national events as we could and get on television as much as we could because I just thought we needed to establish a presence,” said Fox, who came to UGA from Nevada in 2009. “That was the reason for wanting to be in the event. And we’re very excited because it is a first-class event and a first-class facility with great teams in an unbelievable city.”

In what is billing as “the championship rounds” of the Legends Classic, Georgia will Indiana (3-0) in Brooklyn’s sparkling new Barclays Center, $1 billion sports and entertainment facility that opened in September. The Bulldogs tip at 5:30 p.m. (ESPNU), followed by UCLA and Georgetown at 8 p.m. (ESPN2). The winners and losers will play Tuesday night.

Georgia appears to be the baby brother on that bill. But Fox’s deep and extensive basketball roots got the Bulldogs involved early with the Gazelle Group, the organization that has put this prestigious event the last six years.

“Obviously Mark has a tremendous track record,” said Ray Cella, director of media relations for the Gazelle Group. “Georgia was involved with us last year in the (Progressive) CBE (Classic) out in Kansas City. So we’ve had a good relationship with Mark and the University of Georgia. Mark’s doing a great job down there. He’s got a great young class and we have absolutely no doubt they’re going to be very representative in this tournament. We’re happy Georgia is with us.”

Georgia has already played two games in the four-game, 12-team event, and it didn’t go as planned. The Bulldogs (1-2) lost to Youngstown State (68-56) and Southern Miss (62-60 OT) in the first two rounds in Athens. Those were games that were essentially scheduled as warmups to the main event.

“I don’t think our group has established great confidence yet just because they’re learning how to win and how to play,” said Fox, whose roster includes nine freshmen and sophomores. “I think the challenge for us is to believe in ourselves. We may not have that swagger yet that a confident team has, but I think the challenge for us is to continue to look at ourselves and look at the errors that have costs us games.”

Essentially that means improving on everything. The Bulldogs missed 10 free throws in the overtime loss to Southern Miss on Thursday but also have been deficient on shooting, interior scoring, rebounding and defense.

By contrast, the Hoosiers have averaged 94 points and 53 percent shooting in three lopsided wins. They’re led by 7-foot, 240-pound center Cody Zeller (20.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg) and a dynamic freshman point guard named Yogi Ferrell (7 ppg, 5 apg).

“When you play a team like IU, you obviously have a lot of things to deal with,” Fox said. “You’re going to have to play very well at both ends to have a chance to win. For us it’s about looking at ourselves first and making sure that we’re playing as efficiently and effectively in the areas we can control before we focus on how to play against the Hoosiers.”

Meanwhile, Indiana isn’t taking for granted a win over Georgia, which has never beaten a No. 1-ranked team in 14 tries.

“You never look at somebody based on what their results are,” said Indiana assistant coach Tim Buckley. “I’d say that (Georgia is) a very talented basketball team. At the same time, they’re having to play some younger guys and trying to find their way a little and they’re learning their chemistry. I think they’ve struggled a little bit offensively, but only because the ball hasn’t gone into the basket. I think they run really good stuff. . . . Those balls haven’t gone in for them but you know that they’re going to and you’re gonna have to be on top of your game to beat Georgia.”

Georgia will get a close look in New York at a couple of players local products playing for UCLA. Jordan Adams, a 6-5 guard from Lawrenceville, is the first Bruins’ freshman in history to score at least 20 points in his first three games and leads the team with a 24-point average. Adams played at Central Gwinnett before spending two seasons at Oak Hill Academy. And freshman forward Tony Parker out of Atlanta’s Miller Grove High, was heavily recruited by the Bulldogs. He is averaging 12.5 minutes a game and 6.7 points so far.

“He’s a kid that has a lot of upside,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “He’s just going to keep getting better and better. He’s been working hard. He’s doing a good job with his body. He had 12 points and 5 rebounds (last game). He’s a great kid. We think he’s going to be a really good player.”

34 comments Add your comment

SEC's paper tiger is Georgia

November 19th, 2012
9:47 am

first! finally first!

SEC's paper tiger is Georgia

November 19th, 2012
9:49 am

Hoosiers by 30…stick to scheduling (and losing to) lower tier non-conference games…it works for the football program!

cfbfan

November 19th, 2012
10:16 am

Thought UGA was supposed to be getting better at basketball? If Fox can’t recruit better than he’s been doing it’s just going to be more of the same.

Paul's Johnson

November 19th, 2012
10:16 am

Indiana by 900

Coach D

November 19th, 2012
10:34 am

Should be interesting…. Unfortunatly for only the first couple of minutes.

Sam

November 19th, 2012
11:18 am

I have $10 on UGA. If we can somehow pull out the win, it’s gonna be a merry Christmas indeed at my house!

Joey

November 19th, 2012
11:51 am

Wish Parker was wearing the red and black tonight.

SEC Headlines – 11/19/12

November 19th, 2012
1:18 pm

[...] 26.  Mark Fox’s Georgia team will face top-ranked Indiana tonight. [...]

cdog

November 19th, 2012
1:35 pm

if mark fox try to outsmart other coaches he loses evertime.he needs to turn his squad loose and let them play. he has depth and talent enough to run and press people.his trying to run hundred of plays will cause him to lose games in double digits if he continues what he”s doing

FIRE MARK RICHT

November 19th, 2012
1:38 pm

Let the dawgs play some street ball and see what happens.

SMH

November 19th, 2012
1:47 pm

SMH…Zeller may score 50

Butch

November 19th, 2012
1:47 pm

Don’t even know why Georgia is going to show up. A beat down is looming.

Fair n Balanced

November 19th, 2012
1:54 pm

This game cannot end well.

Jimmy Crack

November 19th, 2012
3:07 pm

In Vegas, the “under” on this game is the same as the point spread.

AltamahaDawg

November 19th, 2012
3:49 pm

I like our chances.

DEREK DOOLEY

November 19th, 2012
4:00 pm

I can coach basketball

Lagdawg

November 19th, 2012
4:23 pm

This will end very badly for UGA. They will get slaughtered. Poor recruiting has brought this UGA program to the cellar of the SEC.

GENE CHIZIK

November 19th, 2012
4:29 pm

Hey I can buy a basketball team….

Buckeye

November 19th, 2012
5:21 pm

B1G! B1G!

dogs will go down by 30. Tonight and v Bama.

None Of Your Business

November 19th, 2012
5:33 pm

Georgia is about to get puzzy rape tonight. Sorry guys. I have to face the truth.

just the truth

November 19th, 2012
6:37 pm

Where are all the band wagoner football fans? A school is a school !

hit a single

November 19th, 2012
6:48 pm

Boy ESPN is up to it again. You would think this was Indiana’s home broadcast team. They interview Indiana coach and don’t interview Coach Fox. You have Knight as one of the broadcasters and that is a joke. They have done nothing but criticize UGA.

KDawg

November 19th, 2012
7:17 pm

Is mark fox and CMR the same person? CMF could not coach his way out of a box of rocks…he does not have a clue. No dribble penatration just pass the ball on the perimeter and jack 3’s. I don’t blame the players because that is the same thing they did last year. Will uga stop the maddess with these square arse coaches.

DirtyDawg

November 19th, 2012
7:24 pm

We’ve made some mistakes in this game, but it doesn’t alter the fact that I’d love to tear Bob Knight’s head off and s&&t in his neck. That jerk must have really been p-ooed about Georgia not hiring him.

Who Me?

November 19th, 2012
7:35 pm

The Mark Fox bubble has burst. Where was the coaching up? Where is the offensive penetration – not KCP standing back launching laughable 3’s for an almost 0-fer first half. That’s coaching? This was a winnable game but certainly not a winnable effort. Any adjustments at half? hardly, we came out and got in immediate foul trouble to start the second period. Yes, we were up by 2 at the half, even with KCP’s misses, but it’s a 40 minute game and we just weren’t that good in the second half.

OK I’m done, have at it. I’m not saying it’s time for him to go by any stretch, but I’m looking for more from this team and not seeing the improvements I thought I’d be seeing by now. Am I alone here?

LakeDawg

November 19th, 2012
7:37 pm

I’ve been a big Mark Fox fan; however, he’s just thrown away another recruiting class by signing two 2 star players. Also, I’ve always thought his strength was actually coaching, but the bigs look the same as last year. No improvement. Just throwing the ball up there. They don’t seem to have an offensive game plan. If they are just gonna jack 3’s all year, just like last year, I don’t know if they can win 10 games. The start of this season is very disappointing.

Buzz 2011

November 19th, 2012
7:55 pm

I am not a Dawg fan of course, but that Bobby Knight was pro

What a crock to hear Bobby Knight call the UGA game tonight!
I am not a Bulldog fan, but I feel for the bad treatment dolled out by Knoight!

Hossie
r

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November 19th, 2012
7:57 pm

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DirtyDawg

November 19th, 2012
10:00 pm

Suggest that CMF look at the replay of the game – WITH Bobby Knight’s commentary. I don’t have the slightest idea how much of what he said was ‘on point’ – maybe most of it – but I do know that after he watches it he just might beat the ever-lovin s$$t out the arrogant bas&$$d. I mean he’ll, Mark Fox, still be in New York, so what the hell. He’ll never have a better shot at him.

coacht

November 19th, 2012
10:42 pm

Actually a pretty respectable showing vs the #1 team in the county considering how slow we have started and the lineup changes. We are going to be fine. CMF is the perhaps the best coach we’ve had since Coach Hugh Durham

IU passes road, Georgia basketball test

November 20th, 2012
12:36 am

[...] No. 1 Hoosiers face 2 big tests this weekIndianapolis StarThe Minute After: GeorgiaInside the HallAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog) -Dawg Sports -New York Daily Newsall 327 news articles » Read more [...]

AltamahaDawg

November 20th, 2012
8:42 am

Well, that didnt hurt too bad. The Ind coach had some very nice things to say about Georgia afterwards. Said that was a 20 win team. Not sure about that, and (he was really bragging on HIS guys beating a good team) but he had no reason to look like a fool bragging on Georgia like that if he saw nothing of the sort.

Lets hope some good came of the trip. Did the lights turn on For Williams finally?

BTW, I am completely in agreement with the guys who are complaining about the game plan. Pass the ball around, no penetration. But I think the reality they IS no inside threat. Not sure if you have seen the actual result of penetration. It ain’t good. Fox has yet to figure that out with this group, but I seriously doubt that he just doesnt realize that, as a couple of you are suggesting. Obviously when he had the (past) players to go inside WITH, they did so on almost every possession.

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